The great carbon credit swindle

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, January 2nd, 2016 - 56 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, ETS, farming, global warming, john key, making shit up, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, paula bennett, same old national, science, spin, sustainability, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

The aspirational John Key

The aspirational John Key

A month on from COP21 and it appears that the Government’s sense of urgency is not as high as most people would want.

In a typical pre christmas example of bury the report Paula Bennett released these reports and suggested that New Zealand was complying with its Kyoto protocol obligations and was implementing domestic policy to transition to a low carbon economy.  What better time to release and avoid than in the middle of the festive season?

But the release has received some scathing analysis.  Geoff Simmonds from the Morgan Foundation has said this:

The Government’s plan for meeting our Kyoto Protocol commitment and 2020 emissions reduction target was released this month.

It reveals a shocking truth: New Zealand has been a willing participant in a wholesale climate fraud.

We’ve been dealing with criminals and fraudsters in order to meet our international obligations. If our reputation wasn’t shot to pieces after Paris – where we revealed our weak kneed 2030 target – it will be now.

Carbon trading is a fine idea, but it only works if the credits we buy actually represent a true emissions reduction somewhere else.

The sad truth is that the foreign credits New Zealand has gorged on up until now have produced little to no climate benefit.

He points out the problem, Russia and the Ukraine have been allowed to self certify their own projects for the generation of Kyoto credits but when an independent audit was preformed 85% of the approved projects were shown to worthless in terms of benefits for climate change.  Things were that bad that one official described what was happening as “organised crime”.

Idiot Savant has provided some detail of the types of schemes involved.  One allows credit where coal from coal waste piles is extracted and reductions are claimed for the avoidance of waste pile fires.  The coal is still burnt.

But wait there’s more.

The Stockholm Institute identifies three types of projects as having “questionable or low environmental integrity”: spontaneous ignition of coal waste piles, energy efficiency in industry and power production and distribution, and natural gas transportation and distribution. Eighteen of the twenty largest Ukranian projects New Zealand purchased “reductions” from (totalling 51.3 million tons) fall into these categories. One is a “no-tillage” agriculture project, which the Institute notes are deliberately misclassified in Ukraine to allow the credits to be fraudulently sold onto the EU market. And the final one, for “Implementation of Energy-Saving Light Sources in the Public, Corporate аnd Private Sectors of Ukraine”, appears to have issued twice as many credits as its expected reductions. Basicly, we’re paying our bill with bullshit and fraud.

After the market was flooded in 2012 the European Union restricted the trade of these credits.  New Zealand did not do so until the last moment when under Kyoto Protocol rules various types of credits had to be retired.

But the actions of the Government had its effect and stopped the carbon credit market from working at a time when it needed to work.  We have wasted seven long years.

The price change is now starting to kick in with carbon credits selling for $9.22 in December.  But the scheme has a very poor reputation with foresters claiming that it is responsible for the situation actually getting worse.

And it cannot be claimed that National was ignorant of what happened or the destructive effect the policy was having on local forestry owners.  Labour attempted to have the use of these credits restricted by imposing an obligation to purchase half of all credits from local sources but this attempt in 2012 was voted down.

From the SOP explanatory note Moana Mackey said this:

The effect of these countries doing this is that international units not able to be sold in those countries have nowhere to go but New Zealand. This means millions of surplus credits are flooding the New Zealand emissions trading scheme lowering its price. The present price of carbon in New Zealand is around a third of what it is in Europe due to our different regulatory settings. Carbon trading system OMF recently estimated the excess units not allowed in other countries were sufficient to pay all of New Zealand’s emission liabilities for the next 28 years.

The effect of this price lowering is significant in two respects: participants have a much lower incentive to reduce emissions and foresters are getting a much lower price for their carbon than they should meaning no new planting is currently planned and deforestation is taking place at a faster rate.

These were prophetic words at the time and with hindsight clearly this is what has happened.

Simmonds summarised the situation in this way:

We have been the biggest abuser of fraudulent carbon credits. Someone should be answerable as an accessory to the fraud.

We have spent more than $100m willingly buying these cheating credits that have no benefit for the climate.

I think most New Zealanders would be horrified to find that we have sent $100m to corrupt foreigners, with the only benefit being that we could avoid our emissions reductions obligations.

The politicians have known damn well what they’ve been doing.

There was another piece of interesting information released recently.  Remember when John Key said that the scientists had a solution for agricultural emissions and it was only three to four years away?  Well they do but the improvement will be incremental, not a solution.  Dr Andy Resigner of the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre based in Palmerston North was recently interviewed on Radio New Zealand.  He thought that the best chance was a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through animal ruminations.  This is at best 15% of our total emissions.  We will need to keep using that cheap store of Ukraine credits for a while to come.

The whole episode epitomises National.  Some of the brightest guys in the room have cut by cut, change by change, rendered the ETS totally unfit for purpose.  They have succumbed to the prejudices of the farming lobby and refused to put agriculture in the scheme.  They have then had to resort to the use of credits which have essentially no effect on the planet’s level of greenhouse gasses.  They then apply the spin and claim that New Zealand is meeting its targets when its activity is only making climate change worse.

The levels of spin are strong here.  One to placate the farming lobby, one to give the appearance that New Zealand is doing its bit to address the world’s greatest challenge.  But Simmonds is right.  Someone should call the police.  Because New Zealand and National have been openly complicit in a fraud.

56 comments on “The great carbon credit swindle”

  1. Manuka AOR 1

    ” Because New Zealand and National have been openly complicit in a fraud.”

    But wait, there’s more! Should a future govt (roll on the 2017 elections) try to take real steps to correct the situation, they probably won’t be able to do so without having to deal with crippling billion dollar court cases by overseas multinationals, as the TPP signing (commencing here in NZ, later this month I think)) secures protection for those corporations: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11567925 (Yes, finally acknowledged even in the Herald, though the article was disappeared quite speedily.)

    • Manuka AOR 1.1

      Excerpt: “In more than 6000 pages of legal text in the TPP, climate change is not mentioned once. On the other hand, entire chapters are devoted to minimising “technical barriers to trade” and ensuring “regulatory coherence”. These chapters consist of a range of rules that would turn the move to zero carbon into a legal minefield.

      “In addition, investors such as fossil fuel companies would be given broad powers to directly sue governments in off-shore tribunals for unfavourable changes in policy under investor-state dispute settlement provisions.

      “Awarding these powers to the fossil fuel industry is a direct affront to the Paris agreement. Given that trillions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground – investor-state dispute settlement clauses are a disaster waiting to happen.”

  2. Andre 2

    As far as I’m concerned, Labour opened the door for this. Labour’s ETS was a toothless cynical sham from the beginning. National merely sewed it’s lips shut so it couldn’t even give polluters a gumming. Sadly, so far I see no evidence that Labour will have any more courage tackling the problem in the future than it did under Clark.

    The better answer is a simple greenhouse gas tax. Introduce it low, and make it clear it’s going to ratchet up as quickly as needs be to achieve emissions reductions. And then incentivise carbon sequestering. If the price of getting something like this is a Nat/Green coalition, then I for one will grit my teeth really hard and support it.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      It could have worked much better if National had not changed it and your statement begs the question that if it was already a sham then why has National changed so much of it? A properly functioning ETS would have incentivised planting of forests.

      • Andre 2.1.1

        National changed things because Labour’s cynical sham gave National cover for even more feathering of their mates nests.

        I’m not really that interested in a defence of Labour’s past, I want to hear what it’s going to do in the future. I just want to see it’s learned from mistakes of the past before I even give them my moral support, let alone my vote.

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.1

          My question was if it was such a cynical sham then why did National have to change it so much?

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.1

            Remember how Labour’s scheme was so bad the Greens, knowing it would not be sufficient to address our role in climate change, seriously considered not voting for it because they were worried it would never be strengthened?

            Yeah, that argument is looking slightly prophetic.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      Labour wanted a Carbon Tax in 2008, but its support parties wouldn’t vote for a ‘tax’ and so we ended up with the ETS instead.

      Not Labour’s fault that the electorate voted in numpties.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10368511

      • The Chairman 2.2.1

        Yet, Labour later went on to oppose the Green’s carbon tax policy, saying the Emissions Trading Scheme was its preferred option.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10117252/Labour-opposes-Greens-carbon-tax-plan

        • Lanthanide 2.2.1.1

          Because Labour had an election to try and win, and National were already using the line of “5 new taxes” – which was a nonsense of course, but there’s no reason to play into their hands.

          The actions of a party in opposition, when dealing with a necessary policy that the public need but are strongly against, should not really be taken as a true measure of that party’s position on the policy.

          Which makes it remarkable why they ever tried to run with putting the retirement age up to 67 and CGT, but shows that Little has his head screwed on by putting both policies to bed while in opposition.

          • The Chairman 2.2.1.1.1

            Some would argue further distancing themselves from their potential coalition partner (reinforcing the image of the opposition rowing in different directions) helped cost Labour the election.

            To be clear, are you implying that when Labour were advocating for a higher retirement age and CGT they didn’t genuinely plan to put them in place? And now that they have dropped them they actually will put them into place once in power?

            Moreover, are you suggesting Labour (if elected) would now put the ETS to bed?

            If your ploy theory is correct, how is one to know what Labour says is what they genuinely mean?

            • Lanthanide 2.2.1.1.1.1

              To be clear, are you implying that when Labour were advocating for a higher retirement age and CGT they didn’t genuinely plan to put them in place?

              No, of course not. I said it was remarkable that they raised those policies, because they’re both necessary and unpopular. Little has realised this and taken them off the table – for the next election. They’ll come back out once they’re in government and in a better position to formulate the correct policy (since the governing party gets a lot more resources to develop policy with).

              Moreover, are you suggesting Labour (if elected) would now put the ETS to bed?

              Things always change over time. We’ve now had Paris and the COP21 and all that jazz – overton window and all that. Labour, with the support of the Greens, are in a position to put a carbon tax in place. Especially if NZ First were to also support such a policy (and I recall a statement from Winston sometime in the last few years saying a carbon tax would be simpler than an ETS). The problem is they need to get elected first.

              If your ploy theory is correct, how is one to know what Labour says is what they genuinely mean?

              Bear in mind that Labour aren’t in a position to govern alone. So they’re in a position where they can make anodyne non-committals before the election, as a way of positioning themselves against National, and then after they get power they can re-consider their policy positions to move in a different direction if necessary, and blame it on their coalition partners if the public aren’t happy.

              • The Chairman

                You say the policies (increasing the retirement age and a CGT) will come back out once Labour is in government.

                Misleading voters is a dangerous tactic that won’t sit well, thus may come back to bite.

                Things often change. Change often provides opportunity. Labour should take advantage of that change, show solidarity with the Greens (while making a clear point of difference from National) and make carbon tax at policy they can both stand together on.

                While it’s clear Labour aren’t in a position to govern alone, policy is what helps attract voters People want to know what a party stands for. You have failed to explain how voters are supposed to know what Labour stands for if they say one thing yet plan to do another. Moreover, I can’t see their coalition partners taking the blame for a change in direction they don’t want to take.

          • OneTrack 2.2.1.1.2

            Are you suggesting Labour will simply lie about what their real policy intentions are, in order to get their legs under the treasury benches? What the voters don’t know, won’t hurt them, right?

  3. Tautuhi 3

    JK putting his trading skills to work for the betterment of NZ, no doubt giving Paula Bennett a few tips on ETS trading.

  4. Tautoko Mangō Mata 4

    Good article, MS. The dishonesty of this govt never fails to impress.
    The lack of decent ethical behaviour in the corporate world (see http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34251-exxon-s-climate-cover-up-gets-bigger-documents-suggest-all-major-oil-giants-have-lied-since-1970s) and in the political arena, as illustrated in the swindle above has created many of the biggest problems facing the planet at present.
    Spin, BS, creative accounting, “PR”……so much money is being spent trying to hide or obscure the unvarnished truth. Vilification of whistleblowers, funding of “friendly scientists or threatening to withdraw funding, manipulation of overworked journalist.,
    Politicians supporting mass surveillance hypocritically abuse OIA requests. Accountability is only for the plebs, in their view. My thanks go out to the courageous heroes and heroines who speak out against the abuses of power.
    This government are only interested in short term “fixes” which inevitably push an exacerbated problem onto future generations. What sort of person deliberately makes things worse for his/her own grandchildren?

    • Manuka AOR 4.1

      Note the way Exxon went after the journalists. From that link: “They also went after the reporters at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. They wrote to Columbia University and, you know, reminded Columbia about how much money they give Columbia, and said that what the Columbia journalism school project did was entirely irresponsible. Columbia responded and said-and basically, you know, they have a lot of emails and so on to show that Exxon’s assertions could not be backed up.”

    • Henry Filth 4.2

      You KNOW what sort of person makes things worse for their own grandchildren.

    • Manuka AOR 4.3

      “Spin, BS, creative accounting, “PR”……so much money is being spent trying to hide or obscure the unvarnished truth. “
      From Jim Hightower on ‘Exxon’s Weapons of Mass Confusion’:
      “Their strategy was to create an incessant noise machine, fueled with hundreds of millions of industry dollars, to spread the false narrative that scientists are “uncertain” about climate change.”

      “Their many tactics included forming a lobbying combine in 1989 to sow doubt among public officials about the need for government action; placing a very costly, decade-long series of essays in newspapers denigrating the very scientists it previously nurtured and the science reports that it published; and trying to get the government’s chief global warming official to decry the uncertainty of climate research. They also made their CEOs into hucksters of bunkum, with such lines as “the earth is cooler today than it was 20 years ago”

      And so it goes: “If these denials of reality sound familiar, that’s because they’re exactly the same ones we’re now hearing from such Einsteins as The Donald (who recently tweeted, “I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax”), The Cruzer (who claimed that climate change is a liberal plot for “massive government control of the economy … and every aspect of our lives”) and Jeb (who said, “It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on this is just really arrogant”).” http://illinoistimes.com/article-16550-exxon%25E2%2580%2599s-weapons-of-mass-confusion.html

  5. This is what happens when your country is run by people whose idea of ethics is finding ways to meet the letter of the law while continuing to do the things the law was intended to prevent. If they’ve spent their adult lives to date coming up with ways to weasel out paying their taxes or avoid compliance costs, why wouldn’t they take the same approach to government?

    I’m glad Geoff Simmonds wrote that piece. I had been wondering how the government was going to reconcile the fact it signed COP21 with its total lack of intent to do anything about complying with it. This piece provides the answer – they have the required weaselry already set up and operating. On paper, they’ll have complied, without having to actually go the trouble of complying with it.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      This is what happens when your country is run by people whose idea of ethics is finding ways to meet the letter of the law while continuing to do the things the law was intended to prevent. If they’ve spent their adult lives to date coming up with ways to weasel out paying their taxes or avoid compliance costs, why wouldn’t they take the same approach to government?

      QFT

      And which is why we need better laws and enforcement to catch non-compliance as well as laws against corruption.

      • Pat 5.1.1

        “And which is why we need better laws and enforcement to catch non-compliance as well as laws against corruption.”

        bloody difficult when those abusing the weak law and lack of enforcement are the very same ones writing the laws and (lack of) funding the regulators

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    I do hope that the rest of the world is watching and puts appropriate trade sanctions in place. Maybe then National will recognise the benefits of keeping up standards rather than trashing them while lying about keeping to them.

    Of course, as is highlighted, this is out right fraud and the entire National Party caucus needs to be jailed for it.

  7. Tautuhi 7

    Nothing has improved since “The Winebox Enquiry”, criminal activity by those in power is par for the course, there is a fine line between what is ethical/criminal and what is not. However they know they have the power of the State and the Authorities behind them as they all mix in the same circles.

  8. Macro 8

    I have been wondering when we would get around to discussing this. I commented when it first came to light and NRT did his excellent analysis, referencing both of his excellent posts.
    The fraud is also being perpetuated by the laundering of these shonky credits to give the impression that we are doing something about NZ’s carbon emissions and there are enough sloshing about in our system to cover another two years worth of emissions – this is an out rage.
    The other sad fact is that, even though scientists may find a way to reduce agricultural emissions, there is no guarantee that farmers will act accordingly, because there is no requirement for them to do so, as they are exempt from our ETS.
    Finally on the topic of whether or not we should have had a Carbon Tax as first proposed – National have always and will continue to trash it – unless there is some way to set it in stone. NZ would have had a Carbon Tax but for the idiotic reactionaries like Shane Arden, Fed Farmers, and the vocal useful idiots such as Leyton Smith and the so called “NZ Climate Science Coalition” (sic) spouting nonsense from the world right wing “think” tanks such as the Heartland Institute. The moment they got into power they would have abandoned the Carbon Tax – just the same as Abbott did in Australia – despite the fact that it was working and people were the better for it.
    One thing we can be sure of. National – whatever they may say about Climate Change, and the need for action – are, and will remain, in total denial. They will do nothing – nothing at all – to safeguard the future for future generations. They are all piss and wind, and their only purpose in life is to garner as much as they can into their fat cheeks and damn the rest. Indeed they will even trash or destroy every regulation or tax that has ever been put in place by previous administrations to curb and nullify GHG emissions, because they believe that those regulations limit the gods they worship – GDP, and the size of their wallets.

    • Andre 8.1

      From the experience of places like British Columbia, it seems a key part of making a carbon tax broadly supported is to make it revenue neutral by paying the money straight back as a citizens dividend. Kind of like a down payment on a UBI.

      • Macro 8.1.1

        Yes I totally agree. Mind you it was a right wing govt that introduced the Carbon tax in BC, and it does work over there, and the are the only provence to have actually increased GDP as well. Visited Vancouver late 2014 and recharge points for EV’s were everywhere. Also noted the “this is a non-idling city” signs. Cars turned off engines immediately when parked. Good public transport too.
        But Aussies tax was similar to BC’s and had ways to make it income neutral – and was begining to work and many people actually liked it – but the idiots trashed it even so. They are simply vandals, nothing more nothing less.

        • Andre 8.1.1.1

          NRT’s term “malicious orcs” seems more apt than simply vandals.

          • Macro 8.1.1.1.1

            🙂 yes
            The real Vandals actually established schools in North Africa – something our lot would only do if they can earn some money from it.

      • Sacha 8.1.2

        “make it revenue neutral by paying the money straight back as a citizens dividend”

        Is that what the Greens were proposing here?

        • Andre 8.1.2.1

          Not quite. The Greens were going to make the first $2000 of individual income tax-free and cut company tax by 1%. The Aussies used the carbon tax money to raise their income tax-free band from $6000ish to $18000ish

  9. One Two 9

    ETS , like all trading platforms are designed for these outcomes

    Ukraine and Russia being held up as the protagonists is a red herring

    The entire system is a conspiracey to deceive and defraud such as LIBOR and CDS etc

    Another financial industry ‘success’ story which was predicted years ago

  10. Henry Filth 10

    Internationally New Zealand has a good name and a good reputation.

    It’s a great asset.

    Why do these bunnies insist on squandering it?

  11. tory 11

    farmers don’t need any more costs this just harmful traitorous trouble and muck racking just like safe its economic vandalism the harmful communications act should be applied to economic vandals articles like this affect our image public need to apply self censorship and think does john key really want this published NONONO bad standard

    • Manuka AOR 11.1

      “NONONO bad standard”

      Mate, have a look at the extreme weather links from this comment posted a couple of days ago by Paul: /open-mike-28122015/#comment-1112850

      You don’t have a problem with any of that?

    • Manuka AOR 11.2

      Or, financially: “We have spent more than $100m willingly buying these cheating credits that have no benefit for the climate.” $100 million NZ $s, flushed down the drain … You don’t have a problem with that??

    • Paul 11.3

      You really need to pay attention to what’s happening round the world with the climate, tory.

    • ""Sacha 11.4

      “farmers don’t need any more costs ”

      while you collectively refuse to acknowledge what you get for free at everyone else’s expense, that’s just not true.

      grow up

  12. Pat 12

    I wonder what spin Wayne would like to put on this?….considering he was a member of the cabinet that impplemented this fraud.

  13. Chooky 13

    This is a good clear account of climate change and why it is the major issue of our time:

    ‘Understanding Climate Change’

    https://www.rt.com/shows/big-picture/321538-global-warming-climate-change/

    “Thom goes over the basics of what global warming is, what’s causing it, and how we can stop it with climate scientist Michael Mann, author of the book “Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_E._Mann

  14. tory 14

    this is where the left get it wrong the point i am making is what happens if our competitor use harmful communication like this to drive our products off the shelves
    we all suffer and whats 100 million anyway small change that where john key has the smarts we don’t need to invest in fraudulent climate change it just a natural event there is no global warming anyway its labors fault for getting us involved in the ets

    • Pat 14.1

      yet another 100 million…..on top of the other 100s of millions of taxpayer funds they have wasted on their dodgy shenanigans

    • Manuka AOR 14.2

      “what happens if our competitor use harmful communication like this to drive our products off the shelves”
      There is no change in the quality of any of our exported food products.

      “whats 100 million anyway small change”
      I don’t believe that you mean that. It is a very significant amount of money.

      “there is no global warming anyway”
      When I was at school our class visited the Fox Glacier. It was a relatively short walk for all of us, up to the ice (it was amazing, unforgettable). It is not like that now – the ice has retreated a long, long way back.

  15. Ad 15

    The Morgan Foundation is the think tank we’ve been waiting for. Do you good to get the regular updates.

  16. William 16

    W to be sure to halve the global carbon emissions stop eatin animal. And govt permission not required. As for the swindle, a mite on a tick in the elephants crack.

  17. Gavin 17

    Just to reassure myself, I had a look at Labour’s Climate change policy. It’s hard to find, should be more prominent on their website. Nothing wrong with this 2014 policy, they’ve obviously thought a great deal about it, I think it would be great to see all this happening from 2017. Importantly, the Greens should concur.

    https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/default/files/issues/climate_change_final.pdf

  18. Andre 18

    Thanks, Gavin, I hadn’t found that. It updates my knowledge of Labour’s thinking, but doesn’t change my views.

    Ummm, micky, I got five clicks into your suggestion, saw the date on the “latest” manifesto was November 2013, and lost interest having gained no new information.

    My objection to the scheme detailed in Gavin’s link is fundamentally, that it’s an emissions TRADING scheme. Which sends the message to polluters, go right ahead and pollute, you’ve just got to go grubbing around to buy the cheapest “right” to pollute. And also opens the door to all kinds of jiggery-pokery about who’s got an inherent “right” to pollute, a flaw reinforced by exempting agriculture. And it incentivises all kinds of dodgy schemes to claim “emissions reductions” to generate credits that can be sold. You have no idea how much will-power it’s taking me to not go on and on about international trading in credits.

    Whereas the right message to send is “you pollute, you pay, no way around it”. The only proposal I’ve seen that truly sends that message is a greenhouse gas tax on emitters. Plain, simple, no exemptions. If it’s measurable, it’s taxed.

    Yes, I do have anger issues on this topic, thanks for asking.

    edit: Aww, shit, I get so wound up I post a new comment rather than hitting “reply”. Sorrreee.

    • Gavin 18.1

      Andre, points noted. At least Labour says that 50% of any carbon credits have to be in NZ, and they are also stating that they’re on the lookout for dodgy overseas credits. Farmers would have to pay too, for their emissions. I like the point about looking for better ways to store carbon in soils. At the moment farmed soils are losing carbon slowly, but if that could be measured and turned around with better technology, we would have helped solve worldwide climate change from NZ. Funding levels of tens of millions of dollars would be well spent here. NZ has a lot of soil ready to sequester more carbon.

  19. One Two 19

    Goldman wants this bill. The plan is (1) to get in on the ground floor of paradigm-shifting legislation,
    (2) make sure that they’re the profit-making slice of that paradigm and
    (3) make sure the slice is a big slice.

    Goldman started pushing hard for cap-and-trade long ago, but things really ramped up last year when the firm spent $3.5 million to lobby climate issues. (One of their lobbyists at the time was none other than Patterson, now Treasury chief of staff.)
    Back in 2005, when Hank Paulson was chief of Goldman, he personally helped author the bank’s environmental policy, a document that contains some surprising elements for a firm that in all other areas has been consistently opposed to any sort of government regulation.
    Paulson’s report argued that “voluntary action alone cannot solve the climate change problem.” A few years later, the bank’s carbon chief, Ken Newcombe, insisted that cap-and-trade alone won’t be enough to fix the climate problem and called for further public investments in research and development.
    Which is convenient, considering that Goldman made early investments in wind power (it bought a subsidiary called Horizon Wind Energy), renewable diesel (it is an investor in a firm called Changing World Technologies) and solar power (it partnered with BP Solar), exactly the kind of deals that will prosper if the government forces energy producers to use cleaner energy.

    As Paulson said at the time, “We’re not making those investments to lose money”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405

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